But if you are willing to handle a slightly over an hour long commute, you will have many choices of homes in the $300,000 - $500,000 price range. One area to look at is Rockland County of the Lower Hudson Valley area of New York.
Rockland County is located just North of New Jersey. By crossing the state border, however, you will usually find home prices lower than that of Northern New jersey.
Rockland County, New York is approximately 25 miles North of New York City across the Hudson River. Driving to Rockland County from New York City, you will have to cross the river either via the George Washington Bridge or the Tappan Zee Bridge. Driving from New York City without traffic takes approximately 50 minutes.
You can easily visit Rockland County without a car though. There are Coach commuter buses that connects different towns in Rockland County to New York City, which run around 1.5 hour during rush hours. There are also New Jersey transit trains that connect Rockland County to New York Pennsylvania Stations.
In addition to reasonable commute time, Rockland County has lots of parks and nature to offer. Sandwiched between the Hudson River and the Ramapo Mountains, residents can enjoy river views and water sports, along with camping, hiking, mountain biking, fishing at the numerous parks within the County.
So what can you find in terms of homes for sale in Rockland County? The median sales price of single family homes for sale in Rockland County in 2014 was exactly $400,000. From $300,000 - $500,000, you will find many homes for sale that were built before 1970, at around 2000 square feet or less. There was a building boom for the county between 1950-1970, resulting in half of the homes in Rockland County being split levels, capes, bilevels, and colonials.
If you have a budget of $500,000 or higher, you will have much more choices of homes to buy. You can often find homes that are newer, or at a larger square footage than 2000 square feet. The sales prices of homes are higher in the towns that are more South within the county. The town of North Rockland, in the Northern part of Rockland County, has the lowest median sales price in 2014, at $295,000.
There are plenty of luxury homes as well in Rockland County. Several villages like Montebello and Congers have plenty of large homes at over 3000 square feet, selling at close to $1 million. There is a trend of building less excessive homes recently. For example, some of the new homes for sale in Rockland County, like the Jessup Ridge Estates, are just a little over 2000 square feet, which are available starting in the $400,000s. Of course, there are luxury new developments as well like the Sneden's Pointe development in Palisades, with homes selling just under $2 million. There are also luxury riverfront condos in the quaint villages of Nyack and Piermont.